What Does Good Tax Policy Look Like? Principles of Sound Tax Policy

horizontal equity
wealth taxes

This is in keeping with one of the principal aims of taxation, namely the distribution and stabilization objectives. The difficulty in the application of this theory is in determining the criterion of the ability to pay. Three propositions have been advanced; income, wealth and expenditure. Should individuals be taxed according to their income, wealth or expenditure? A wealth-based tax may be useful in the redistribution of income and wealth but may not provide sufficient revenue by itself. An expenditure tax ensures that both income and wealth are taxed, when they are spent.

Individuals pay indirect taxes based on their net worth, consumption, or income. They also pay them in graduated rates, implying that the taxes increase as the income increases. Indirect taxes are paid on imports and exports and during production and consumption.

2 Principles of taxation

Unfortunately, in many countries around the world, it is difficult for tax authorities and taxpayers alike to access tax law in a complete, up-to-date and consolidated form. We are looking to apply our skills and experience to improve access to tax law for all. Economic Neutrality – The purpose of the tax system is to raise needed revenue for core functions of government, not control the lives of citizens or micromanage the economy. The tax system should exert minimal impact on the spending and decisions of individuals and businesses. An effective tax system should be broad-based, utilize a low overall tax rate with few loopholes, and avoid multiple layers of taxation through tax pyramiding. Figure 5 displays the coefficients of the tax unit, marital status and the interaction of the two in a model in which we control for respondents’ socio-demographic characteristics and the other wealth tax design dimensions.

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Fiscal adequacy • The source of government revenue should be efficient to demand the needs of public expenditure. • Creating new taxes or new tax machinery or by merely changing the rates applicable to existing taxes. We must also strengthen the estate tax, which is the single most progressive tax. The weakening of estate tax requirements over time has contributed to expanding income inequality for the top 1%. The current estate tax rules should expire and, at a minimum, we should return to 2009 levels as President Obama has proposed, which would impact only the wealthiest three out of every 1,000 estates. Yet some large corporate interests have marched to Capitol Hill advocating for a tax system that would worsen the tax code’s bias towards foreign profits and investment, and increase the deficit.

(g) State Property

This ensures no discrimination considering race, gender etc. In contrast, vertical equity requires tax burdens vary in proportion to income. This implies that those with higher incomes should pay more taxes since people differ in a way that some individuals have different circumstances. It is often accented that the “wealthy” should not have to suffer tax burdens since they have earned their money, but a good tax system should appreciate every worker. Building on positive policy feedback theory, we hypothesized preferences to be in line with existing patterns in each country’s income tax schedule. Thus, given individual income taxation in the UK, we expected UK citizens to be more strongly against joint wealth taxation than in the other two countries.

The primary distinction between the two types of taxes is what is getting taxed. That there should be some equivalency between what an individual ends up paying and the advantages they get as a result of government actions. Are intact and growing at a healthy pace but also ensures that these can be used as growth engines in times of recession. LevyingA levy is a lawful process where the debtor’s property is seized when the debtor cannot pay the outstanding debts. It is different from liens, as a lien is only a claim against a property, whereas a levy is an actual property takeover to fulfill the obligation. The calculation and payment of a tax should be easy for a taxpayer to understand.

Further, the tax should not favor one group over another, so that one group receives a tax benefit at the expense of another group. Some reflections on the OECD and the sources of international tax principles. Taxes are unrequited in the sense that the benefits provided by government to taxpayers are not normally in proportion to their payments . ” is a very popular cliché and a view held by majority in the community, however, it easier said than done. Due to many reasons it is hard to actualize this, but principally taxing the rich goes against capitalism, which is the dominant economic system of business operations adopted in many parts of the Globe.


These criteria, such as income earned, property owned, capital gains realized, or expenditure incurred on domestic and imported goods. Taxation is utilized as an economic policy tool in the modern world. It has an impact on overall output, consumption, investment, industrial location and techniques, the balance of payments, income distribution, and so on. Yet the choice of the tax unit can alter the magnitude of the tax exemption. If married couples are assessed jointly, their combined exemption might differ from that of unmarried partners.

Some theorists believe that wealth provides a good measure of ability to pay because assets imply some degree of satisfaction and tax capacity, even if they generate no tangible income. Our study also provides important evidence for policymakers. As we have shown, the tax exemption is the dominant dimension in tax design preferences and policymakers are advised to consider this in designing a net wealth tax. Most notably, however, a net wealth tax enjoys overwhelming support in all three countries in this study. Thus, while difficult to implement and administer, a net wealth tax might be one option to combat extreme wealth inequality and squeezed public budgets. Chamberlain, 2020), researchers discuss tax rates and tax exemptions.

State Taxes

A local tax is one that the local governments impose on the citizens. The local authority may be a school district, a county, or a city. Examples of local taxes include lodging, sales, and property taxes.

  • Building on positive policy feedback theory, we hypothesized preferences to be in line with existing patterns in each country’s income tax schedule.
  • If an individual, having regard to his circumstances and the prevailing economic conditions pays more tax than he should, his taxable capacity would have been exceeded in the absolute sense.
  • The ability-to-pay principle is the opposite and states that the government should impose taxes based on an individual’s or business’s ability to pay.
  • Purpose of taxation Secondary purposes • To strengthen anemic enterprises by giving tax exemptions.

If chart of accounts example and firms do not obey the laws of the country, fines and penalties are imposed on them. Such fines and penalties are also the income of the government. Convenience The method and frequency of payment should be convenient to the tax payer e. For example, it may be difficult for many tax payers to make a lump- sum payment of tax at the year-end. Two main views can be derived from Adam Smith’s taxation principle of fairness.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is a good case study for understanding the real-world implications of this. These taxes can be discriminatory as they often single out specific industries and even specific business models through narrowly defined tax bases and arbitrary thresholds. Tax codes should be easy for taxpayers to comply with and for governments to administer and enforce. Below, we define our four principles and, for each, outline four real-world policies—two that embody our ideals and two that do not. These examples are illustrative and intended to make each concept more tangible.

types of taxes

At the very least, we should cap the benefit of itemized deductions for families with incomes over $250,000 at 28%, as outlined in the President’s budget. Only one-third of taxpayers itemize their deductions because the majority of Americans claim the standard deduction. Further, the value of a deduction corresponds to an individual’s marginal tax rate, making itemization highly regressive.

tax design elements

A proportional tax system imposes taxes on every taxpayer at an equal rate without considering their income level. Therefore, those who earn less pay the same tax percentage as those who earn more. Those who advocate for this system argue that it makes people work harder since they are not penalized for earning more. They also argue that businesses are more likely to invest and spend more. More investment, income, and expenditure stimulate the economy. Critics, however, argue that proportional taxes place more burden on those with low income and less on those with high income.

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Every tax ought to be so contrived as to take out and keep out of the pockets as little as possible, over and above that which it brings into the public treasury of the state. Limitations of taxation • Inherent limitations – restrictions on the power exists from the very nature of the power of taxation itself. • Constitutional limitations – restrictions in the exercise of the power of taxation as expressly provided in the Philippine Constitution. We do not use companies in tax havens as defined by the OECD to avoid taxes on activities which take place elsewhere.

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